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Bettering the Bifocal: Multifocal Lenses

Are you over 40 and struggling to read small print? You might have presbyopia, a common condition affecting those who are approaching their 40s. It's one of the harsher realities of aging, but it's good to know that having presbyopia when you already wear glasses for distance vision doesn't mean you now need two pairs of glasses. Multifocal lenses, which rectify both near and distant objects, let you see clearly at all times, with one pair of glasses.

Multifocals are a vast improvement on bifocals. Bifocals corrected poor near and far vision, but often things in between were blurry. In an effort to create a better product, progressive lenses were developed, which provide wearers with a transition part of the lens which lets you focus on the area between near and far distances. Progressive lenses, which are also known as no-line lenses, are a type of multifocal lens featuring a subtly curved lens, instead of a sharp line dividing both parts of the lens.

There are several different brands of progressive lenses in the market.  What is the difference? Older generation lenses depended on fixed designs that provided relatively small area for close viewing, as the transitional areas appear distorted due to the changing lens curves needed to change the lens power.    HOWEVER,  newer technology uses digital equipment that can customize the lens curves to great detail (like a camera that is 3 megapixels compared to 20 megapixels). More measurements are needed on frame size and shape, frame tilt, distance from a person's eye to widen the clear zones and reduce peripheral distortion.  This is called free form technology, which is different from classical progressives or even digital fixed design progressives.

Bifocals are still used though; they are helpful for kids and teens who suffer from eye strain, which is the result of a difficulty focusing while reading. Adults who have problems adapting to progressives will also still obtain bifocals.

Even though it may appear to be an easy solution, avoid buying drug store bifocals. A lot of these types of glasses are one-size-fits-all, which means that the both lenses contain the same prescription and that the optical center of the lens is not customized for the wearer.

A badly fitted pair of glasses can lead to eye strain, discomfort and nausea. At a certain age, most of us cannot avoid presbyopia. But it's good to know that the right lenses can make it a lot easier.

Thank you for trusting your eyecare with us over the years.  The Foresight Eyecare team follows the government mandate to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After December 2020 announcements made by the Alberta Government, our clinic is following the revised Infection Prevention and Control policy by the Alberta College of Optometrists.

Patients interested in obtaining eye exam services or eye care products can be seen by appointment only.  Please call ahead, and staff will arrange an appointment time and ask COVID-19 screening questions.  If you have any symptoms of cough, fever, runny nose or shortness of breath, we ask that you call or e-mail us and do not attend the clinic for your scheduled visit.   Within the clinic, please wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer at reception.  Our clinic complies with the City of Calgary bylaw requiring mask covering over the age of two years old.  For patients who are unable to wear a face covering due to medical reasons, the patient can be scheduled for an appointment at a time when minimal number of other patients are in the clinic such as at the beginning or end of the day to ensure appropriate physical distancing requirements.

We are using disposable disinfectant wipes on all surfaces and devices such as front desk counters, chairs, handles in exam rooms and waiting room.  All eyewear that have been touched by patients are continually being sanitized.   Any toys and magazines are stored at this time.  Examination areas are being sanitized with hospital grade disinfectant.  Debit and credit cards but NO CASH payments will be accepted.

COVID-19 symptoms are not always obvious.  We want to fend off this pandemic and minimize risk to our patients and the Foresight staff as front line health workers.   Contact that is closer than 2 m (6 feet) is to be avoided, with barriers in place when this cannot be avoided. We choose to continue to do our work and cautiously take care of our patients with compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience.   It is a challenging and new experience for many of us, so let‘s support each other and prevent virus spread!  Beyond 2020, our focus is on take care of you and keeping Clean Hands, Clear Heads and Open Hearts.   For more information, please refer to the following web pages or phone Health Link 811.

Drs. Dianna Leong, Anh Bui, Andrew Chan